Building Angels

I get it. The world is overwhelming, language is broken technology that doesn’t even try to meander toward the truth anymore, and as Yeats said, “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

But. If.

If instead of building bots to influence public opinion, what if the bots were built to protect us, to nurture us, to provide us with maximum agency and happiness? What if the deamons of AI became our better angels?

Nothing is written in stone for how the twenty-first is going to go. Sure, it could be a downward spiral, but what if it wasn’t? What if it was instead the century we righted the ship, when we built the new communication and organization tools for the next ten thousand years?

I think the dilemma we face is that not everyone is going to come along for the ride. But that’s ok too; it has to be. At many points in human history we were forced to migrate to survive, and when we did people were left behind. Most of us now are the decendants of those who chose to move on.

Move we must. Move away from belief that exposure to information somehow moves the needle on truth, move away from a faith that the Internet and social networks have not been compromised, that empathy can scale.

We need to migrate toward a world where AI serves as our shields and protectors, and we must criminalize the manipulation of other humans using bots. We must accept that the only way we can protect ourselves from AI is to build AI defense systems.

The only logical way to create these is for a marketplace of protector bots to exist, since depending on the government to provide you with a defense system simply puts too much power in it’s hands (especially if it is compromised). Here, capitalism can shine, and the same system that allowed the creation of bot armies to influence elections can innovate defensive systems against them.

The battleground is all around you, every second of your attention, and the prize is the future.

Painting by Simon Stålenhag

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